Staying hydrated assists your body in regulating internal temperature.
Jupiterimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Keeping track of your heart rate is one of the best ways to gauge your level of exertion and response to a bout of exercise. Aerobic workouts for the average exerciser tend to be of light or moderate intensity, so you shouldn't experience a high heart rate following a jog around the track. Your heart rate response to exercise is largely dependent on your age and overall level of fitness.
Target Heart Rate
Aerobic exercises typically put you in a target heart rate zone between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate because your body is able to power itself with oxygen at this intensity. More intense exercise requires a breakdown of glycogen stores for immediate energy, which is only possible with a higher heart rate. You can get a rough estimate of your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. If you are 30 years old, this would put your average response to an aerobic workout between 114 and 152 beats per minute.
Heart Rate Recovery
Although your heart rate will be elevated during and immediately following an aerobic workout, it should return to resting levels within a short while after you're done. If your heart rate remains elevated for a long period of time, you may be experiencing symptoms of overtraining or have underlying heart issues. To determine your recovery, measure your heart rate one minute after your workout. If your heart rate decreases by 15 to 20 beats per minute, there's no cause for alarm; however, a decrease of 12 beats or less per minute could signal underlying health problems.
Factors Affecting Heart Rate
Your age and rate of exertion are two primary factors affecting your heart rate during an aerobic workout, but they aren't alone. Your overall level of fitness plays a huge role in regulating your heart rate. The stronger and more efficient your cardiovascular system, the lower your heart rate will be during exercise. Additionally, external temperatures can have a significant effect on your pulse. Running on a hot day in the glaring sun can increase your heart rate by 20 to 40 beats per minute.
Measuring Heart Rate
If you don't have access to a heart rate monitor, the next best thing is to estimate your heart rate manually. You can do this by taking your pulse on the inside of your wrist for six seconds, then multiplying that number by 10. Still, you may not need to pay close attention to your heart rate if you pay attention to how you feel during a workout. If you feel fatigued or like you're overdoing it on the track, you're probably right.